Florida A&M University has announced that for the first time the school will be offering a yoga exercise course. While this is historical news, perhaps what’s even more amazing is that the university has hired one of its students, Cedrita Demus, to teach the class.
Demus has always had a passion for yoga and she became self-taught in 2009 while studying in Hilo at the University of Hawaii.
“Although I was a student, I still had to pay for the gym and there was no way that I was doing that,” she said.
Demus continued to strengthen her skills by practicing on her own, which led to her school deeming her a certified yoga instructor.
Demus went on to continue teaching yoga at Core Power in Chicago before traveling to India to receive another yoga certification.
Once she embarked on her journey at Florida A&M University as a coordinator of administrative services with the National Student Exchange program for the Office of International Education, Demus began teaching yoga classes at FAMU’s recreational center. She’s also enrolled in a master’s program in public administration at FAMU.
It was during her time at the center that she inquired about making yoga an official course for students. She was met with many no’s before she finally received the answer she hoped for.
“Spring 2019 is when we started trying to get the program approved. It took almost a year,” she said. “I kept asking and they would tell me there’s not enough in the budget for the class, but here we are nearly a year later and the course has been approved.”
FAMU student Jasmine Williams says she’s excited about the new addition to the elective curriculum, but wished she had learned about it before enrolling in bowling.
“I’ve always wanted to try yoga because I’m a very spiritual person,” Williams said. “I often meditate and think it would be cool to learn how to do that in a classroom setting.”
Ironically, Demus has decided to stray away from the spiritual aspect of the practice and to focus more on the technique.
“A lot of people have different beliefs, whether it be Christianity, Muslim or Buddhism,” she said. “I don’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable or forced to practice something they don’t believe in, so we’ll be focusing more on the history of yoga and the techniques that come with it.”
Keionna Hesson, who is a customer service coordinator for the recreational center, says she’s excited about the new course and encourages students who aren’t able to enroll in the class to participate in their free yoga training.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing that yoga is now being offered as a class,” said Hesson. “However, for those students who aren’t able to enroll, we offer a free class every Wednesday at 6 p.m.”
The class has a maximum enrollment of 30 students and currently has only seven seats left for the spring 2020 semester.